What You Need to Know
- Robert Cialdini is one of our most authoritative and frequently cited social psychologists.
- Use the reciprocity principle to boost your business.
- Learn how to establish instant trust with potential clients to earn business.
Robert Cialdini is one of our most authoritative and frequently cited social psychologists. He’s also the best-selling author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.” Here’s a sample of his practical wisdom.
1. Use the art of pre-suasion.
Before you reach into your bag of logical arguments, soften up your audience with an emotional message that gets them ready for what you really want to sell. Cialdini calls this technique “pre-suasion.”
He recounts how a consultant who was having difficulty getting clients to pay his high fees started his presentation by saying, “I’m not going to be able to charge you a million dollars for this” (though that would have been ideal). Afterward, he was much more successful in getting prospects to pony up the big bucks. That’s because he conditioned them to accept that his service was expensive.
An online furniture store exposed one group of shoppers to website wallpaper of fluffy clouds and another to website images of pennies. The first group later emphasized comfort in their purchases, while the other focused on price.
The key is to plant a message in prospects’ minds that prepares them for your offering — even before you make your request.
2. Get into the right frame of mind.
How do you get yourself into the right frame of mind to achieve your goals? Cialdini says that before we begin our task, we need to focus on thoughts that are aligned with the goals that we want to achieve.
For example, a group of fundraisers who saw pictures of a runner winning a race consistently garnered 60% more money over a four-day period than a control group did. Those images put the idea of success into their minds before they kicked off their project.
Similarly, a group that worked on an assignment requiring complex problem-solving abilities produced superior results by plugging away near a copy of Rodin’s “The Thinker.” That illustration highlighted the value of analytical thinking in their minds before they started their work.
3. Follow the No. 1 rule for top salespeople and learn to establish instant trust with prospects.
Show clients and prospects that you genuinely like them. According to Cialdini, we trust and want to do business with people who sincerely seem to like us. This is a departure from the conventional wisdom of most sales training programs, which advocate pointing out similarities and complimenting prospects to get them to like you.